The Great ‘how to win at hotel bidding websites’ Hunt

Hotel bidding websites Priceline and the US website Hotwire allow you to make offers for bargain rooms. With these, you enter the price you’re willing to pay and they tell you whether you’ve won.

I want to tap MoneySavers’ expertise to find out how good these sites are, and what kind of bids they’ve had accepted. What are the best bargains you’ve bagged? What experiences have you had? What are your top tips?

Please post below to share your experiences with other MoneySavers.

Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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  • blindman
    blindman Posts: 5,658
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    Martin, have you not read these "How To" Guides on Priceline or Hotwire then ?:confused::confused:

    The web-site that helps with both these Opaque auction sites is Betterbidding

    Another site which deals with USA Priceline ONLY is (Less friendly and less organised, but more data on USA Priceline hotels)

    Both are mentioned in the guides.

    The best Priceline deal I have had is $35 for a 3* at the Hyatt New Jersey. Rack rate was $250.
    (This was October 2003 but this hotel still goes for about $65 at its lowest).

    Best Hotwire rate was $33 at a 2.5 * hotel at Indianapolis when the rack rate was $200 due to the US GP being in town.
  • dmg24
    dmg24 Posts: 33,925 Forumite
    I think blindman's guides tell you all you need to know. A quick search would have found it ... ;)

    I don't think I have ever seen a true bargain on Hotwire, but I have had PL bargains in Cologne, Madrid and Boston (and a cancelled one in Washington). I'll no doubt be picking up a few more over the next week.

    It should be noted that these rates are not normally cancellable, and not all the available hotels are ones that you would want to stay at. Therefore, as you will see from bm's guide, research is key! x
    Gone ... or have I?
  • duchy
    duchy Posts: 19,511
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker Xmas Saver!
    I always check out and and bid accordingly. Understanding free bid zones is essential tho.
    I've had some fab prices both in the UK -Marriotts galore-including the lovely Victoria and Albert in Manchester(a converted warehouse and brilliant for star spotting as it's right opposite the TV studios) for £50 and Marriott Gatehead also at £50-in both cases less than half price.
    New York the Hilton on W 42nd Street in the heart of Manhattan for $105 ($300 was the normal price for my dates, Salt Lake City $40 for a city centre Raddisson and Cleveland the Rennaisance hotel (four star) for $60 (friends staying the same nights got a smaller room than mine and paid $130)
    I'm going to a concert at the O2 in June-I *was* going to stay at the Holiday Inn express (2 and half stars at best) for £75 but why do that when I picked up the Hilton Canary Wharf (4* and fab tripadvisor reviews) for £70.
    The list is endless-priceline let me stay in 4 star hotels for 2 and 3 star prices-what more could an MSEer or a DFW ask for :)
    I Would Rather Climb A Mountain Than Crawl Into A Hole

    MSE Florida wedding problem
  • mitchg
    mitchg Posts: 382
    Mortgage-free Glee!
    Have used bidding for travel for priceline hotels and car hire in the past great if its not a large group and your willing to take a punt on what hotel accepts but most are more than decent and more than decent savings can be had too. on entering a bid you will need to change a couple of your adress and telephone details so it looks like you are bidding from the USA address but dont worry a booking is a booking.
    :hello: Lets all save a £ or two, lets all earn a £ or two, and lets all enjoy spending that £ or two wisely.
  • mitchg
    mitchg Posts: 382
    Mortgage-free Glee!
    I think the value of this thread is high so i'd suggest making it a sticky to maximise possible money savings that could be had and use the help that could be available to forum members.
    :hello: Lets all save a £ or two, lets all earn a £ or two, and lets all enjoy spending that £ or two wisely.
  • stphnstevey
    stphnstevey Posts: 3,224
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Never heard of these sites, so thanks for letting us know
  • n1cn1c
    n1cn1c Posts: 21 Forumite
    I'm a convert to priceline since reading Blindmans great step by step guide. Take the time to read it & do your research :T

    I'm working my way round London so far have stayed at
    Hilton Islington £45 per night
    Gouman Cumberland £55 per night
    Sheraton Park Lane £100 per night

    will never pay full price again :j
  • GlennTheBaker
    GlennTheBaker Posts: 2,974
    Photogenic Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post
    I've had some very nice deals with Priceline over the last few years. The best, in terms of how much cheaper than the hotel's own price, was the Sheraton Skyline at Heathrow last year. I got it for about £42 inc tax - the best rate on the Sheraton site was £186 inc tax!
    This space has been intentionally left blank
  • Edge21
    Edge21 Posts: 43 Forumite
    I've used Priceline for my last few trips abroad - I'll never book with a hotel website direct again!

    Just to give you an example - I visited New York over Easter weekend last year. 4 star hotels were $500+ a night when booking direct (yikes!)

    I managed to get the SAME 4 star room for $120 (~£60 a night) using the Name Your Own Price option!! On top of that I got the exact room I wanted when I checked into the hotel (i.e. one with twin beds!)

    As the other websites will explain, you don't actually know what hotel you're bidding for until the final page (i.e. after you've paid). However if you know the area you want to stay in and are comfortable with the star rating you are bidding for - then this is not a problem.

    Also Priceline may not be suitable for specific requirements (i.e. twin beds, family rooms etc.) The bid is usually on a room that sleeps 2 but most hotels (if they have the rooms available) will upgrade you at no cost.

    In my experience, you're most likely to get the best hotel deal when booking about a week or two before you travel.

    I always use Priceline when travelling abroad - especially the US! There are some fantastic bargains to be had as the hotels would rather have some money from customers than none at all!
  • I've spent nearly £30,000 on priceline's Name Your Own Price since 2002. I guess the next cheapest options for the same hotels would have cost me around £75,000. Put another way, priceline has let me travel about two and a half times more for my money than I would have been able to do otherwise. Examples: this month I've won the Hyatt St Louis for £30, the Chicago downtown Hilton for £42, the Hilton Islington for £40, the Marriott Park Lane for £76 (cheapest public rate £223). But I rather fear the cat getting out of the bag - I tell all my friends but am rather happy that it's not more widely-known, for fear of the repercussions of the backlash when businesses that book on Hilton or Marriott or Sheraton websites realise that every single one of the website best rate guarantees have small print that specifically excludes priceline. Will they drop their public rates 70% to match their priceline rates? Will they hell - they'll just lose their priceline rates - the distressed inventory income is merely froth to the monster retail income. So please tread carefully, Martin - my life would be much poorer without priceline.
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